LEARNING MODE - The CT-1 operates in A mode and Manual mode with thanks to YONG-NUO bringing back those modes to shooters ( Many Strobists) who didn’t have a clue about light.  ITT-Ll and other alphabet letters really taught you nothing about light and I still in the lab see lousy work even though the shooter had a Nikon 850, a 5000 series flash and the latest and greatest lens.  It’s not the camera.

The advantage of learning to use the A mode and manual settings are faster shooting, quicker flash recovery, control of the light, and does a better job working in manual situations is critical to Wedding and event shooter who work in the dark locations like old churches and halls.  Many, many of the pros that I talk to and deal with want to control the situation. TTL does not, It was made for amateurs.

You still have auto focus but still retaining full image control .  You simply let the flash do the thinking instead of the camera.  Any ttl or pre-flash integration slows down shooting.  Lets face truth the truth.  TTL in any manufacturers camera had it roots in making the amateur better, the pro who knows what he is doing prefers the control.  

Of the myriad of pros I spoke with, real money making pros, most shot manual or aperture preferred.  TTL was unreliable and slowed things down. The brain was in the head of the shooter, not in the head of the flash and camera who sometimes conflict with each other.

Metz talks about quality of light and I agree, its true.  It’s inherent in the design, with it’s additional higher guide and a wider more powerful head that gave continuity to the scene.  It shows more as a clean whiter white. 

I used all of the Metz “ Potato mashers”, the most popular being the 45 CL-CT, for 90% of my wedding work and they were excellent on film based medium format cameras.  They were reliable,  dead on exposures and color perfect for slow films like VPS professional and the FUJI line of PRO films. 


I re-designed a whole new system of battery packs based on the availability of newer battery and charger components and found a decent source.  But and after you use one, and you see the difference in flash distribution, coverage, technique  and power, you will become a convert.  Not to mention reliability, and longevity.  Oh I forgot to mention cost.

The advantages of this work around is longer battery life, reduced cost savings, for the new version of this old workaround, If the METZ 45 you have, is in great working condition I can custom build one for you.

Most of the projects I work on and offer come with decades of experience, and a strong effort to be completely safe. Many of the strobes, flashes and other devices using capacitors to build and release energy are dangerous in more ways than one. 

First:  I check the serial number of the strobe.  READ ON and you will FIND OUT WHY.  Power, we test them on the 7.4 side and then the 9.6 side.  Check slides and controls and look for corrosion.

Second: We create a module for the side showing the best results. Since the design allowed both NiMH and Alkali voltages, we may use different input speeds. 

Third: We manufacture a Black Box and charger combo with the desired MAH which can vary from 2000 to 4000 MAH.

Fourth: We determine if the setup is best for single or dual use.  The beauty of this set up is with two high-power black boxes and their dual ports you can mix and match both setups. 

Fifth:  The modules are then fitted with Quantum coiled cables I modify and convert the module and we test and test.   

The first simple manual electronic flashes had basically three components: A battery connects to a capacitor which is  connected to the flash bulb. The switch is the cameras hotshoe.   These flashes had high (320 V) voltage but the hotshoe was a mechanical metal trigger, not digital and could handle it.

The voltage from the battery slowly but steadily charges the capacitor like a stream of water filling a bucket. Once it is full, the water gets turned off. The capacitor is storing all that power.  Most strobes today are in the 320-340 range and can be dangerous for those doing their own repairs.    

NOTE: About voltage leak, when capacitors get old they can “ leak”I just fixed a Vivitar 285 for a customer that he said tingled.  The capacitor was leaking through a short in the shoe into his bracket.  He’s alive, the problem, he has a Pacemaker, not a good scenario.  I have no clue as to what a discharge could have done to him but on the safe side, I fixed it the best way I know how. No charge for the repair, I smashed it with a hammer and tossed it. He’s got a Yong-Nuo from me, I upgraded to a Black Box now and loves it. No tingles...

As soon as the circuit between flashbulb and capacitor is closed all the stored energy drains out in one split second and the flash goes off. Just like dumping all the water on your friends head.  Now fill the bucket again.  In earlier manual flash designs the solid one-setting of the full charge was always fully drained.   And then a new re-charging cycle started, usually very slow.

The automated models added basically two more elements:
•  A light sensor to determine exposure 
•  An electronic switch (called a thyristor) between capacitor and flashbulb. 

•  When the circuit is closed, it switched the thyristor “on” which let the high voltage get to the flashbulb.
 •  The light sensor measured the light reflected back to the flash and after receiving sufficient light switched the thyristor "off".   Nice, since Thyristors can handle high voltages and they are very, very fast switches.

•  Flash automation, the correct exposure.
•  Only part of the capacitors charge is used.  Thus the remaining charge is on "higher ground" and only the balance to full is needed.  This means faster recycling. 

•  The 45 gave you a choice of five apertures after selecting the ISO. 
•  The inner Dial on top was used to select ISO of your film. 
•  The outer transparent wheel could be turned to one of five aperture positions or Manual. 
•  The scale below the transparent wheel showed the selectable apertures and maximum distance for your selected aperture. 
•  The 45 CT-1  has so much power with my new packs that you rarely need it in normal situations. 
•  Faster recycling, better working distance, and burst modes 
•  Better power for bounce lighting.but You can bounce from the ceiling or a side wall. The 45 had the power to do it easily and the automation to do it perfect out of the box.  


•  It is still my favorite strobe of all time.  It made me money, it was reliable and I make my own power packs.  Metz proprietary parts are too expensive.  The  problem was money and what it costs to power them.  That was the killer but for the past 20 years I have built my own packs.  I built power packs for these models since their inception and never had the problems because of my mods.  I shoot in manual when using flash and let the flash do the thinking. With a thousand full power, power is not a problem for me.

•  The good side today is the METZ strobes are available in numbers, dirt cheap and simple to operate in M or A mode which most pros use and understand and the new power conversions I am working on, are simple and inexpensive.  Established quality means well made upgrades and the results are in and nicely done. Lord,  please keep them coming when some one thinks the new stuff from China is better and dumps the METZ. I am an open buyer for Metz 45’s and KIDAK Carousels.

•  I’m using and redoing all of their battery modules to make modules that have superior power, reinforced in places and are inexpensive and look like they belong, not an add-on hack job glued or velcro’ed to the outside.

•  The honesty of the web and eBay has always been dubious.  Look out for 45’s on Roberts Camera on eBay, some of their 45’s should have been trashed.  One customer I worked with received three till they had one that worked. For some reason they part them out and then ship you half a strobe.  Cheap price but missing parts like brackets, modules, cables, etc. They have earned a seat on my Game of Thrones

•  The circular sliders if left in a bad environment like at the seashore, salt air, are prone to corrosion and wear, and the hot circuits shorted in many simply due to age.  If unsure, email the ad and I will assist you.  If you own one be sure to exercise, move the sliders and controls as often as possible as this remove some of the corrosion.

•  Beware of ads using factory pictures, not the actual unit.

•  Beware of ads claiming could not be tested. Tell the seller you’ll give him 20.00 dollars and if it’s in good shape you’ll pay the difference after testing.  And a money Back Guarantee if not as described. Pass on any items sold as parts only, avoid, no one repairs them anymore.

You have to manually check the voltage on your unit. You are forewarned that, all Metz, Canon, Nikon products and others are voltage and amperage sensitive and nothing any of them builds or sells is inexpensive either as a replacement or repair.  But in our sense it means whether you use it on a stand off-camera with a transceiver or placed in a hotshoe or port.

•  Think before you do something that might go wrong as the smell is sometimes the first clue as to something might be wrong. I can advise you on this, my sniff test tells me someone was in the unit before me and mistakes linger on.  

•  Thus older CT-1 are units stronger than bulls with higher synch if their serial numbers are under 534,000.  BUT they have a high voltage synch rate.  Those units below 534,000 we have no hesitation using them on lightstands especially the dual mounts with a transceiver or on my beach rigs using my Mary Ann.  Simply use a WEIN Safe -Synch voltage regulator available at B&H.

The Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe regulates and reduces the flash sync voltage of the flash from up to 400V to less than 6V. This is especially important for current automated SLRs or digital cameras when used with older flashes or lighting systems.

This model mounts directly to a camera's hot shoe and provides a hot shoe on top and a PC female flash connection on the side.  You can have a flash connected to the hot shoe and a flash being triggered by the PC female connection-and unlike so many other offerings of this type, both will fire simultaneously from the same signal. The exception to this rule pertains when using 1 or 2 flashes that are already under 5V sync voltage. In this case, the flash or flashes will not fire.

** If the number is higher than 534,000, no problem the 500,000 indicates low-synch voltage and I will gladly shoot with Nikons, Canons, and Sony’s off the hotshoe or synch made today.

The Metz 45 series are a range of very powerful handle mount flashes.   As of January 2015 45 units can only be obtained second hand.   Introduced in 1976 and produced up to 2014 the product was iconic for Metz and noted as the best for Wedding and PJ work. 38 years in  production, and had a reputation with professionals for ruggedness, reliability, and most important delivering great light.  It’s weak point was power but film is not shot in the numbers like digital. It was OK but expensive. You need a lot of modules or battery clips.

Metz 45 CT-1 The original model had a long production run and was actually produced in three different versions under the same name. The first two models with serial numbers  below 534000 have high voltage circuits for the flash trigger and should not be directly attached to a digital camera.  Unless you have measured your Flash to be safe, and received assurance from the camera manufacturer that the voltage is safe. 

•  The last model with higher serial numbers above 534,000 can be used in automatic mode on any camera. The flash can not be used for any TTL control. 

•  The earlier models can use the Mecamat 45-20 and the later models can use the Mecamat 45-43.  See the chart.
•  Both Mecamats can be found easily on the second hand market. 

The flash offers 5 automatic apertures. 
•  ISO range is limited from ISO 25 to ISO 400,  and with the power it has more than enough
•  The measuring range of the flash metering cell is fixed and which apertures can be selected depend on the set ISO value.
•  Most common Digital  is 200 ASA OR DIN       200 =  4 / 5.6 / 8 / 11 / 16 
•  It has more than enough Fill in flash in daylight on the other hand works quite well.  Think Beach model and wedding shots with back lighting
•   With ISO 100 or 200 you can use apertures from 4 to 16 which should cater for most shooting situations shooting into sunlight for the halo shots. And not spending 3000 dollars for the Profoto unit, this is far more economical 

•   The flash itself does only have two manual settings:  
Manual which is full power and Winder which is 1/64 power. 

•  THE MECAMAT But the fitting Mecamat (45-20 or 45-43) is easily available on the used market and allows seven manual settings from full power to 1/64. That makes the Metz 45 CT-1 with Mecamat quite useful for any full manual set up. To use the Mecamat the flash should be set to manual mode.
•  The Mecamat also expands the number of usable apertures in automatic mode to a total of 9.  But unfortunately all additional apertures are above the ones that can be selected on the flash alone. That feature is very useful for macro photography where small apertures are selected and the macro extensions rings might further diminish the “  Effective” aperture. 

•  The later model above serial number 534000 can be triggered with any third party wireless trigger and can be included in a wireless trigger manual set up nicely. For earlier models the same caution as for cameras will need to be exercised. Not every wireless trigger is able to handle voltage above 250V. Be sure to use heavy duty triggers for studio strobes, and check with the manufacturer what is the specified maximum voltage. 

Personally I was never a fan of the Metz original rechargeable power packs. They did not offer large capacity had a long loading time and were a pain to maintain. You would need to discharge and re-charge on a frequent basis to maintain the capacity of the pack.  

In reality all of the old flashes were resting for longer periods unused, after which you discovered that the rechargeable pack was spoilt either by deep discharge or memory effect.   Ni-CADS if not used all the time simply died.   Police departments who used NiCads every day and charged them had no problems. Storage kills Ni-Cads.  The major discouragement for me with the 50/70/76 series is, that they ONLY work with the rechargeable set sold by METZ.

SOLUTION :  I own two brand of the new M-76-5  METZ nuclear weapons.  Thats what I call My M-76-5’s GUIDE NO 250!   they came with 1600 Mah Nickel Metal Hydrides. They are now rebuilt to 3800 NiMH, Sanyo Commercial HD’s and it’s night and day. They’re the bong.

If you own a DSLR want one flash connected with the camera that has more power than the shoe mount, you shoot a lot of group shots with medium wide angle and don’t need TTL fill in ambient light, the 45 CT-1 digital can be an alternative. 

If you use third party wireless triggers with multiple flash units in manual mode or automatic mode the 45’s start to make sense.  Automatic mode has its pitfalls, so the flash should have a wide manual range. Clearly the Metz, late low voltage 45 CT-1 with the fitting Mecamat is a hidden treasure.

Unfortunately, true TTL usual with analogue cameras is no longer offered by a anymore. Any up-date of these flash units to achieve E-TTL is not possible. Adapters cannot be used to solve that problem. Therefore, your 45 CT can only be used in simple auto flash mode and/or with manual settings. 

For it the camera must be set in manual mode on the same F-stop and ISO as used on flash unit (set on A mode).